Throne Speech: Set rhetoric to stun, lieutenant!


Apologies if this stuff has been commented upon elsewhere, for owing to work-based mayhem I’ve only now had the opportunity to glance at the Speech from the Throne, but…

Our Government approached the [pre-budget] dialogue in a spirit of open and non-partisan cooperation.

Hilarious. Always pays to have a laugh line somewhere in there.

Today we meet at a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty.

WTF? Really? Is this really a time of “unprecedented” economic uncertainty? Because I was kind of thinking that the crisis of the early 80s was pretty precedenty: Inflation out of control, interest rates at 20%, a Tarzan movie starring Bo Derek – we just couldn’t catch a break. And then there were the 1970s. Also, perhaps someone in government has heard of the Great Depression? It was in all the papers.

Your predecessors, too, were summoned to this chamber at times of great crisis: as Canada struggled to claim her independence, in the shadow of war, during the depth of the Great Depression and at moments when great policy division tugged the very bonds of this union.

Down, boy. So now we’re comparing this moment to world wars? (Can’t wait for Paul Gross’s Passchendaele II, about a brave Canadian who enlists to fight in the collateralized-debt-obligations wars of the 21st century.) During the Depression, unemployment hit 27% — as in, twenty-seven freaking per cent! The jobless rate today? Less than 7%. And the head of the Bank of Canada says things are going to start to improve pretty quickly. If you start using the I’m-freaking-out-here language now, what happens if unemployment ever hits, say, 10%? Then which words are you going to use? (Technically, aiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! is not a word.)

Also, I didn’t see anything in the ol’ Throne Speech about how if we were going to have a recession, we would have already had a recession by now. I must have skimmed past it.

The best part of yesterday’s Throne Speech is what it means for today’s budget speech, where the Finance Minister will have no choice but to up the rhetorical ante:

Today we gather at a time of economic Armageddon, a dark moment of grave crisis whose air of panic will consume us whole, leaving us a fragile shell of a country, beaten within an inch of our economic lives. Please, Mr. Speaker, I beg of you: Hold me.

Upon a post-apocalyptic wasteland that makes the setting of the first Mad Max movie look like a Club Med, we shall endeavour to endure, just as our distant ancestors struggled to unlock the secret of fire, and the water-based creatures of prehistoric earth first confronted the challenge posed by that strange tandem of air and solid ground…

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Throne Speech: Set rhetoric to stun, lieutenant!

  1. Might as well get a laugh out of the rhetoric surrounding this budget, as the substance is not too encouraging.

    Seems that everyone, from the most rabid Conservative partisan to die-hard Dippers, thinks Harper is delivering a budget that even he doesn’t have any confidence in. I suspect the number of Canadians who will have real (as opposed to voting) confidence in this budget can be counted on one hand with most (or all?) of the fingers missing.

  2. “Because I was kind of thinking that the crisis of the early 80s was pretty precedenty…”

    The adjective should properly be “precedential” as in “PM Harper is looking very precedential today.”

  3. Scott the best may be still to come. If in the unlikely event this crisis shows real signs of flaming out by early summer we will be treated to the novel experience of this nervy bunch doing an about face and stating with no intended irony: ” Ha! we knew it all along. Now where the hell did i put that old FU?”

  4. I don’t get all this nonsense; the bafflegab muddifying of the fuzzification here. It all makes perfect sense to me. It really means…”last month we didn’t know what the f**k we were doing so we said stupid stuff; we still don’t know what we are doing but we got better speech writers. They all used to work in Hollywood but got fired for having no original ideas so we thought they would work out great here” Whaddya think?

  5. What, Australian speech writers aren’t good enough for this bunch anymore?! Crikey!

    • I think the Mad Max comment may have been inspired by those down under. And as a bonus, anything that mentions a Mel Gibson movie is bound to invoke a certain level of panic. Hold me!